October 17, 2010: Change in Communist China - Cadbury Secrets and Chocolate Wars - Stieg Larsson, the man behind 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo' - An Interview with Judith Jamison
Our guest host this week is Karin Wells.
And the award goes to... China - China has never taken kindly to lectures on the world stage. And when the Nobel Peace Prize committee announced that it was awarding imprisoned human rights activist Liu Xiaobo the award this year, it was sending a message to the Chinese Communist Party leadership. For the world's last Communist superpower, questions are again being raised about universal human rights, and are provoking a response from Communist party leaders. More importantly, there are signs that an internal change may be happening.
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Listen to Hour One:
Cadbury Secrets and Chocolate Wars - Deborah Cadbury will tell us about the Quaker barons of chocolate - men who believed that debt should be paid, profit should be shared and that wealth destroys men.
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Listen to Hour Two:
Stieg Larsson, the man behind The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - In his short angry life, Stieg Larsson was an agitator and an irritant to the political establishment in Sweden. Since his death he's become a God. A conversation with Stieg Larsson's best friend
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Listen to Hour Three:
Elsewhere on the show: A foray into the creative mind of "La Stupenda", the late great singer Joan Sutherland; a conversation with the great American Dancer Judith Jamison about the legacy of the civil rights work of her mentor Alvin Ailey; and some brilliant music meant for Sunday morning.
Song: Entre Lagos e Montanhas
Artist: Journey with Her Pipa
Album: Autumn Cloud
And the Award Goes to... China.
When the Nobel Peace Prize committee announced that it was awarding imprisoned human rights activist Liu Xiaobo the award this year, it was sending a message to the Chinese Communist Party leadership - economic reforms aren't enough, it's time for real and substantive political reforms. China has never taken kindly to lectures on the world stage, but there are small signs that an internal shift may be happening. A group of influential Communist elders wrote an open letter to the party leadership this week, rebuking them for the country's scandalous culture of censorship and calling for more freedom of expression. Now, as the party's Central Committee holds its annual assembly this weekend, the outgoing premier Wen Jiabao is speaking publicly about the need for political reforms. We're going to talk to a China scholar in a moment about whether the universal values we hold so dear in the West - the right to free speech, to free assembly, to an open and impartial trial - can ever truly take hold in China. But before that, a closer look at the imprisoned poet.
That was U.S. author Dom Delillo reading Liu Xiaobo's poem, Longing to Escape, on December 31st, 2009 at a writers' rally calling for his release. Few people were as excited about Mr. Liu's Nobel Peace Prize as his long-time friend Yang Jianli. The two activists share a long history going back to their days as protest leaders in Tiananmen Square. Yang fled to the United States after the bloodshed, but they kept in touch over the years, and last spoke just days before Mr. Liu's arrest in December, 2008. Mr. Liu is currently serving 11 years in prison after he drafted Charter 08, a political manifesto calling for democratic reforms in China.
Mr. Yang was the first person outside China to add his name to the manifesto, a petition with more than 12,000 signatures today. Yang Jianli joined us from Boston.
And the Award Goes to... China, Continued
Mr. Liu's Nobel Peace Prize has raised a heated debate about universal rights. China decried the committee for giving the award to a quote criminal. Western governments and activists see Mr. Liu as a, activist imprisoned for his political beliefs. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights includes 30 protocols including such basic tenants as the right to free speech, to an open and fair trial, the right not to be arbitrarily arrested, detained or exiled. China was among the countries that unanimously passed the declaration at the United Nations in 1948. Critics say that China has an obligation to live up to the declaration, just like every other country. But my next guest says it's not that simple. Paul Evans is the director of the Institute of Asian Research at UBC. He joined us from Ottawa.
Song: Symphony 1997/Earth
Artist: Yo-Yo Ma
Album: Tan Dun - Symphony 1997 Heaven Earth Mankind
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Song: Chocolate and Roses
Artist: Oliver Miguel
Song: Dardanus Suites
Artist: Jean-Philippe Rameau
Album: RAMEAU: Dardanus / Le Temple de la Gloire
Dame Joan Sutherland the "Stupendous"
From the time she was a child, growing up in Sydney, Australia, she was an unmistakably brilliant singer. But when she set foot on the stage at Le Fenice in Venice in 1960, she was simply stupendous.
Dame Joan Sutherland - the legendary soprano known as "La Stupenda" - died last Sunday at her home in Switzerland. She was 83 years old.
Dame Joan came from a musical family - her mother was a mezzo-soprano and was her daughter's first real teacher. There was no mistaking young Joan's talent, but there was also no obvious path to success as a singer. While she was still studying voice, she took a secretarial course and several mundane office jobs. It wasn't until 1951, after Dame Joan had won a vocal competition, that the family moved to London, where Joan would attend the Royal College of Music. Less than a decade later, Joan Sutherland became what can only be called an opera superstar, when she debuted in "Lucia di Lammermoor" at Covent Garden.
For the next forty years, Dame Joan sold out opera houses, topped charts with her recordings and was a darling of the notoriously ungenerous critics. She sang with Maria Callas, Luciano Pavarotti and Marilyn Horne, among others. And she worked with the pantheon of the opera world's most accomplished musicians, conductors and directors.
No one directed more of Dame Joan Sutherland's operas than Lotfi Mansouri. He is the former General Director of both the Canadian Opera Company and the San Francisco Opera - and is something of a legend himself. He was at a studio in San Francisco, California.
Song: Il Bacio
Artist: Joan Sutherland
Album: Joan Sutherland: Greatest Hits
Chocolate Wars and Cadbury Secrets
So you are standing in a convenience store...staring at the nearly endless display of chocolate bars...smarties, coffee crisp, kit kat, Hershey's Almond bar, Cadbury Chunky, Lindt dark chocolate, and the list, variety and possibilities go on and on. And while you are letting your taste buds control your purchasing power do you ever think about the story behind the cornucopia of pleasure you are faced with? Odds are you are just want some chocolate.
There was a hint of the drama late in 2009 and early January of this year when Kraft Foods paid out 20 Billion dollars US to scoop up Cadbury, its markets and its secrets. But that was only the latest twist in the story of how Chocolate bars came to rule the world. The whole story is packed solid with God, War, Slavery, Christian Conscience, Court Cases, Industrial Espionage, the never ending quest for technological innovation and a century and a half worth of debate on good business practices. The story is at times awe inspiring and at other times nigh on unbelievable.
And it's the story that award winning BBC Documentary Maker and author, Deborah Cadbury - yes, there is a relation - tells in her absorbing new book, Chocolate Wars: The 150-Year Rivalry between the World's Greatest Chocolate Makers. Deborah Cadbury was in our London Studios.
Song: Verano POrteno
Artist: Ricardo Peres
Song: Fascinating Rhythm
Artist: Oscar Peterson Trio
Album: The Complete Clef/Mercury Studio Recordings
Stieg Larsson the man behind the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
The Millennium Trilogy, the series of novels that begins with The Girl With The Dragon Tatoo is the literary sensation of the decade. Three novels featuring the remarkable computer hacker Lisbeth Slander and the crusading journalist Mikael Blomkvist take place in a truly dark version of Sweden. Racism, sexism, violence, corruption and a venal media run all the way through. This unlikely combination has become a world wide bestseller with nearly 50 million copies sold and no sign of letting up. The release of Hollywood films based on the three novels beginning next year are expected to make the superstar author a mega star.
What makes the story even more intriguing is that the author, Stieg Larsson died at the age of 50 in 2004 just as the first of the books was being published, and no one was more surprised by his posthumous success then his friends. Larsson had spent most of his adult life as a anti-racism activist and muck-raking journalist. Very few people suspected that he was also a wanna be thriller writer just waiting for his big break.
Among those most surprised by the direction Larsson's life and reputation has taken since his death is Kurdo Baksi. Mr. Baksi is a Kurdish refugee who moved to Stockholm in his teens. He went on to be a leader in the anti-racism movement and it was in this guise that he first met Stieg Larsson. The two became best friends and collaborators.
When Stieg Larsson died unexpectedly of a heart attack, and then became famous world-wide for his literary skills, Kurdo Baksi went into a bit of tailspin. He needed to find out everything he could about a man he had know intimately for more than a decade. And that proved to be more difficult than he imagined. Kurdo Baksi has written a memoir about Stieg Larsson and it raises some truly interesting questions about the most surprising literary superstar of our time. The memoir, Stieg Larsson: My friend has just been published and this morning, Kurdo Baksi was in a studio in Stockholm.
Featured DiscLater in this in hour, Karin Spoke with Judith Jamison, the artistic director of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre. Before she became director, she was the principal dancer with the company. One of her most famous dances was a piece called "Cry." And of the songs featured in that piece is Right On, Be Free, written by Chuck Griffin and performed "Voices of East Harlem."
Song: Right On, Be Free
Artist: Voices of East Harlem
Album: Sanctified Soul
Judith Jamison Clears the Stage
The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre has been one of the most iconic dance companies in North America for more than half a century. Its dancers have been featured on popular television shows like So You Think You Can Dance and Dancing With the Stars. Its artistic director was feted last month at the White House.
The company has enjoyed a long and illustrious journey from its humble beginnings as an eight-member dance troupe in 1958. Two years later, Alvin Ailey unveiled his masterpiece Revelations. Drawing on what he called his blood memories growing up in the south, Mr. Ailey melded ballet, jazz and African dance techniques into a vision of contemporary dance that endures to this day.
In the past 50 years, the company has performed to more than 23 million people in 71 countries. Last night, it played to a packed theatre in St. Catherine's, Ontario. And in all that time, there have only been two artistic directors leading the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater - Mr. Ailey and Judith Jamison, his handpicked successor who took over after his death in 1989.
Ms. Jamison joined the company in 1965. She was Mr. Ailey's muse for the next 15 years, and became one of the company's most celebrated dancers and choreographers. Now, she too is planning her exit. Judith Jamison joined Karin from her office in New York.
Song: Something About John Coltrane
Artist: Alice Coltrane
Album: Journey in Satchidananda